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Except for water edges, cold climate treelines are the only land cover boundaries that have a global distribution. They are obvious even to the layperson, and they have fascinated biologists and geographers since the early days. High-elevation treelines separate the montane forest and the treeless alpine region. This transition zone is commonly not sharp and is controlled by a multitude of environmental influences.

This collection of case studies from around the world, edited in honor of treeline ecology pioneer F.-K. Holtmeier, illuminates an impressively broad spectrum of phenomena associated with treelines. This broad spectrum, though, is also a limitation: The volume has no logical structure, and chapters neither build upon each other nor cover subjects by distinct thematic fields.